How to Find Growth Opportunities in Higher Ed Institutions

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How to Find Growth Opportunities in Higher Ed Institutions

When it comes down to it, find growth opportunities in higher ed institutions is the ultimate concern of every college or university leader. How far should we expand our operations? What kind of expansion can we afford? How much will we grow in the coming quarter? In the coming year? And how much could we have grown? Of all the questions above, the last question is the most haunting to leaders. Though there’s no way to know what could have been when it comes to growth, there is a strategy to ensure sustained, reliable growth year after year. It’s called a capabilities-driven approach, and it begins with recognizing your strengths.

A Capabilities-Driven Approach to Growth Opportunities

The most basic and, indeed, most flawed growth strategy in higher ed institutions is trying to deliver exactly what students want. Though it may sound cliché, finding growth opportunities in higher ed comes from within. Identify areas where your institution is succeeding (your capabilities) and let those areas drive your college or university directives. The idea is to build on existing success rather than try and cater to each industry fad that arises. Higher Ed trends come and go. By identifying and capitalizing on your successes you can build your brand, stay relevant to your targeted market, and maintain consistent growth.

4 Strategies to Find Growth Opportunities in Higher Ed Institutions

Once you’ve identified your areas of strength, you can chart your growth opportunities and an objective course to build on your successes. Below are four strategies that should be used simultaneously.

1. In-market leverage

Seek out growth opportunities within your existing student, funding, and donor base. Every college or university has a core market they rely on for funding and revenue. Maintaining business from these sources should be your first concern. Once you’ve identified strategies to capitalize on existing revenue sources, you can begin looking into other areas.

2. Near-market expansion

Though expanding into new markets with new products and/or services carries unavoidable risk, it also offers the possibility of great rewards. Take a look at sectors your competition is targeting and develop strategies to cut in on their market share. As we stated before: your existing students and donors are your greatest concern. Don’t allow yourself to get carried away with expansion into adjacent fields until you’ve developed a plan for in-market growth.

3. Disruptive growth

Disruptive growth is similar to near-market expansion, though it’s more extreme and riskier. Only develop new products and/or offer new services if you have a clear idea of how they will complement those already in place.

4. Capability development

Capability development applies to all three strategies already mentioned. It’s about increasing efficiency and productivity with innovation, leadership changes, and changes in your institution’ss culture.

Growth Opportunities in Higher Ed Institutions with The Change Leader

At The Change Leader, our specialty and full focus is on Higher Education Institutions and helping them succeed in their mission. We help our clients evaluate existing strategies and identify areas for improvement with strategic planning, consulting leadership development, and more Higher Ed consulting services. 

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